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It’s “Summertime” Again and Leisure-Time and Play Starts for Our Children!

It’s amazing how fast a year goes by. I was thinking about the summertime and how important it is for our children both in school and home to continue to use their bodies to develop their cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being through “leisure-time and play.”

Thinking about the benefits:
1. Play is important for healthy development of the brain;
2. As play is child-driven, children practice decision-making skills, move at their own pace, discover areas of interest on their own and ultimately engage fully in the passions they wish to pursue. However, when adults control play – such as in organized sports – children have to follow to adult rules and concerns (like winning) and lose some of the benefits play offers them, particularly in developing creativity, leadership and group skills. Note: Play offers parents a wonderful opportunity to engage fully with their children;
3. Leisure-Time helps children learn how to work collaboratively, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts and learn self-advocacy skills;
4. Leisure-time allows for peer interactions. It is an important component of social-emotional learning;
5. Leisure-Time protects against the effects of pressure and stress.

What kind of other benefits are there for play and leisure-time? What kind of games can they benefit from during the summertime? Some camps, schools, after-school activities I have seen are hula hoops, parachutes, lots of music like playing musical chairs without using chairs (That is the last rear-end to touch the ground is out of the game) or “Everyone wins relay race.” (That is when you have a trio race with tied shoes and you come to the finish line, you wait for the others so all the relays cross the finish line at the same time and no one loses.) Any more ideas to share?

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